Friday, December 5, 2008


1. What scene from a sit-com, book, film or play have you found the funniest and why?

You know, Peter, you are not making my life easy here! Not only was I considering a similar subject for my week of questions, the irony is that I can’t even answer this!! J

I think Jennifer mentioned this as well, but to me funny is all about timing. What I thought was funny as a kid, may not be funny now. Likewise, I laugh at things now that never made me laugh before. A lot of it is about context, for sure.

So, then, how do I answer this question? With what is funny to me now? Or what made me laugh the hardest in the moment? Or perhaps it’s what I think would be sustained funny? You know, funny then and STILL funny now!

Let’s talk is a sampling of sitcoms, variety shows and cartoons that I think will always be funny to me – and they cover decades of TV and span all types of comedy: Three’s Company, The Cosby Show, Perfect Strangers, Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, the Carol Burnett Show, Abbott and Costello, Married with Children, Bugs Bunny, Cheers, Fawlty Towers, Golden Girls, Family Ties, How I Met Your Mother, Mad About You, Mork and Mindy, Soap, Taxi, The Muppet Show, I Love Lucy

Try any of them and you will learn TONS about me and my personality.

After I wrote this list, I went online to make sure I didn’t forget can do the same here:

And since I’ve talked about TV, the scene I’ll pick is from a movie. Ben Stiller stars in one of my favorite “stupid-funny” know, the ones that are so utterly ridiculous in plot, acting and lines you can’t help but laugh? I’m talking about movies that might star Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler or Chris Farley. But a lot of those movies are just bad to me. Some make me laugh. And a few, like The Three Amigos, are like classics to me.

So back to Ben Stiller. I’ve already grown tired of him, but ten years ago he put out a movie that became an instant classic stupid-funny movie.... Zoolander. Here’s the prep for the scene you’re about to watch. Stiller is a male supermodel, which means he is stereotypically unintelligent (well, just plain dumb), totally self absorbed and completely unaware of anything beyond the extreme superficial. In this scene, he and his male modeling friends are going out to help Stiller deal with his depression and it, of course, leads to a montage involving playful fighting, slow motion moves, and yes, Wham singing in the background:

2. When was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt and who or what made you laugh?

Well, I laughed pretty hard when I rewatched the clip I just posted. Does that tell you anything? I love laughing. I am always looking for an opportunity to find the humor in something, and if I’m not the one doing the laughing I am trying to make someone else laugh. I have squirted milk out my nose, choked on my food, woken up with sore ab muscles, you name it. And it happens so often I can’t remember the last time.

Accidental comedy makes me laugh the hardest. There was one time I was sitting in a training class at work. I had just been hired and was in this class with 14 other new hires. We eventually realized the weird squeaking noise we kept hearing was the result of someone in the room tapping their foot against the metal leg of the chair. But the tone of that squeak and the complete unawareness by the person that she was the one making the sound eventually left us all in an uproar. You know...that kind of laughter that is silent, tears are streaming, you’re convulsing and the last thing you need is for your instructor to ask you a direct question. But he did. And I lost it. We all lost it. It was totally harmless, everyone was laughing, but there was no good reason for it. I love those moments.

3. What’s the funniest or most absurd situation you have found yourself in? Did you find it funny at the time or afterwards?

Here’s one. My wife and I flew to Toronto for my cousin’s wedding. We weren’t married at the time. When we got there, we had no idea what was in store for us. Rather than sit back, take in some sights, go to the wedding, toast, laugh and drink, we found ourselves in an entirely different situation. We were calming down arguing family members, shopping for tea cups at IKEA for the wedding reception, decorating the wedding site, putting out chairs and tables at the reception site, cutting the cake and serving it to 200 people, spray painting tree branches in the snow that were stolen by all of our parents, and yes, making the drive to the Emergency Room due to a freak ping pong accident that left the 55 year old brother-in-law of the groom clinically dead for about 30 seconds (he’s fine now). Absurd? Yes. Funny? Oh yeah. Did we think it was funny then? I did. My wife didn’t. Now? We can’t stop telling the story. Simply outrageous, and I wouldn’t change my family for anything in the world.

4. How would you describe your sense of humour and why do you think there is so much variation among individual’s senses of humour?

I love irony, sarcasm, slapstick, witty, romantic, goofy, silly, dry, dark, all of it. I think I am just so grateful to be alive and thankful that I am healthy and capable as a human being, that I’m perpetually in a good mood. So my sense of humor is pretty loose. There it is...I’m loose when it comes to funny. (Insert joke here!)

5. Is humour powerful?

Only if the other person agrees. ;)


Jennifer Rabold said...

I have to know... freak ping pong accident? I'm imagining the possibilities, but I'm afraid my imagination is rather limited for this situation.


Ramak said...

In slow motion, it took three years and forty five days. At full speed, I think it was less than two seconds. The groom's brother-in-law apparently used to be an avid ping pong player. He has a table in his basement. We were staying with his family while visiting. He took me to the cleaners. And then he beat my great uncle, who was WAY better than I ever could dream of being. Then he convinced my wife (then my girlfriend) to play him. He took it easy on her, but she randomly built up an 11-2 lead. So he got competitive, and when the ball she hit went in the opposite direction of where she intended, he got tripped up with his feet. He grabbed for the table, but couldn't hang on, went almost full speed towards the wall to his right...which was made of concrete. He hit the wall head first and his back to the wall. Then he slid down very slowly, and then his upper body flopped to the ground where his head hit the concrete a second time.

I was already rushing towards him before he even hit the wall. By the time I got there he was staring blankly, had stopped breathing and wasn't moving. My wife just dropped the paddle and backed away, like she had just accidentally shot someone outside of some warehouse by the harbor. My great uncle just sat there, also unable to move. I got to his side, slapped him, talked to him....nothing.

After about 30 seconds of him not reviving, I leaned down to administer CPR. Just before I started, he let out a gasp. Good news! But now he was mumbling in jibberish. Eyes glazed over. No idea who I was. Now we're thinking brain damage. We eventually called 911, had to get his wife downstairs, had to hold back his mother-in-law who was 4 foot 10 inches of "MY SON!!!! MY SON!!!! HE NEEDS ME!!!!", had to inform his son who just got out of the shower why the ambulance was here...and after everything, he was miraculously totally fine. But it scarred my wife pretty good, until he was better and both he and his wife went out of their way to relieve her of her guilt.

There is so much to this story I've left out. And so much to that whole vacation. It's a book waiting to happen. Actually, you've heard of My Big Fat Greek Wedding? They've got nothing on Persian people. ;-)

Ramak said...

Incidentally, remember the IKEA trip? Yeah, his other son and my wife picked me up at the Emergency Room where I was sitting with him and his wife so that we could go get the teacups. After all, there WAS a wedding the next day!

I swear to you I'm not making this up.